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Toombs Gives Non-Profits Time
Wednesday, 12 August 2009

August 12--  Toombs County commissioners are giving three non-profit agencies till the end of the year to make arrangements for office space.  Officials say their practice of providing rent-free space to the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and Toombs County Family Intervention violates the gratuity clause of the state constitution.

At its August meeting Tuesday, the commission heard appeals from local officials including Lyons Mayor John Moore and Vidalia City Manager Bill Torrance to help the agencies maintain their services to the county's population.  The Commission supported Commissioner Louie Powell's motion giving the agencies more time to consider alternatives.  

County manager Doug Eaves recommended the county charge the Red Cross just over $230 a month for its 700 square feet in the Ross Bowen Building.  He also suggested Habitat for Humanity be allowed to stay in its home on Morris Street if it would pay utilities estimated at nearly $1,800 a year.  No long term recommendations were provided for the Family Intervention Center which occupies the county's Grady Street building in Lyons.

Eaves informed the commission the county will have to borrow $1.5 million in order to pay expenses through the end of the year.  He said county revenues are down about $800,000 so far this year.

In cost-cutting moves, the commission voted to save over $200,000 in health insurance premiums by having county employees pay for their family members' insurance if they opt to take it.

The commission reduced its contributions to the recreation departments in Vidalia and Lyons by $2,700 each, and amended its budget allocating nearly $7,300 to the newly created Toombs County Recreation Department.

It also approved a $7,500 deal to buy an acre of land on the Tomlin Road to open the county's third trash and recycling convenience center for the residents in the areas around the Marvin, Johnson Corner and New Branch communities.

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